< Back to previous page


Medical terminology in the Western world. Current situation.

Book Contribution - Chapter

This chapter first describes the fundamentals of medical concept formation, the different types of medical concepts and the specific properties of medical terms. We provide an overview of the most important types of terminologies (controlled vocabularies) and databases and of the recent national and international medical terminology standardization activities (CEN/TC 251). We introduce the domain of medical linguistics as a field of study that is concerned with specific aspects of medical language in order to enable the computer-aided recording, storage, and retrieval of medical data. The following types of terminologies and databases will be described in greater detail: anatomical and nosological nomenclatures, coding systems (International Classification of Diseases (ICD), Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED)), indexing systems (Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)), thesauri and metathesauri (Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) and the bibliographic database Medline (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online). We end with a discussion of determinologization strategies for general health texts in terms of intralingual translation between Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) and Language for general Purposes (LGP), as well as implications for interlingual translation of medical terminology for lay readers.
Book: Handbook of Terminology, Volume 2 [HoT2]: Terminology in the Arab world
Pages: 84 - 108
Number of pages: 26
Publication year:2019